Every year, about the time of the summer solstice, when the northern hemisphere tilts most fully toward the sun, strawberry season begins.
Some strawberry U-pick operations opened as early as Friday, and many other King County farms will open for the season within the next few weeks. Other berries ripening for picking include blueberries and raspberries.
Berry farmers urge people to call before they come to make sure there will be enough blueberries to pick that day.
“Call ahead, call ahead, call ahead,” Clarissa Metzler Cross of Auburn’s Canter-Berry Farms said. “We don’t want it to be like an Easter-egg hunt.”
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U-pick prices are generally lower than pre-picked berries and range from $1 to $2.50 per pound, depending on type of berry and location. Berry farms offer little shade, so pickers may want to bring sunscreen and water. Most farms offer buckets or flats for picking, but some expect pickers to have their own containers to carry their berries home.
Many farms have other crops as well. Here are 10 farms in King County that welcome pickers; the list is not complete. For more information about U-picks and farms in King and neighboring counties, check out Puget Sound Fresh’s 2013 farm guide, available at pugetsoundfresh.org.
Blue Dog Farm: Blueberries. 206-794-9362 or bluedogfarm.com. 7125 W. Snoqualmie Valley Road Carnation. Will open for members starting mid-late July; may open to public in mid-August. Annual membership is $25 and allows members to pick at any time of day. Check website or call for updates and more information.
Bob’s Blueberry Patch: Blueberries. 253-631-3428. 17403 S.E. 244th Place, Kent. Will be open, hours TBA, starting at the end of July or beginning of August; call for updates.
Bybee-Nims Farm: Blueberries. 425-888-0821. 42930 S.E. 92nd St., North Bend. Hours and opening date TBA; call for updates.
Canter-Berry Farms: Blueberries. 253-939-2706 or canterberryfarms.com. 19102 S.E. Green Valley Road, Auburn. Will be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. starting at the end of July or beginning of August, depending on weather; call for updates.
Colvos Creek Nursery/The Country Store and Garden: Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. 206-463-3655 or countrystoreandgardens.com. 20211 Vashon Hwy S.W., Vashon. Will be open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday starting in mid to late-July; call for updates.
Harvold Berry Farm: Raspberries, strawberries. 425-333-4185. 32325 N.E. 55th St., Carnation. Open now with varying hours, but closed Sundays; call for updates.
Henna Blueberry Farm: Blueberries. 425-806-2751 weekdays, 206-605-4601 weekends or hennablueberryfarm.com. 1800 Fall City-Carnation Road S.E., Fall City. Will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. starting the weekend of Saturday, June 29; call for updates.
T&M Berry Farm: Raspberries. 253-941-1435 or 253-859-4193. 27329 78th Ave. S., Kent. Open for the season, but not daily; call in advance and for updates.
Hannah Leone: 206-464-2299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.